Summer is the season of big Yang and the Fire element. The Heart organ is associated with this time of year. Summer is the hottest season. A hot environment utilizes the body fluids (ie sweating) and can harm the Yin fluids of the body. Heat promotes humidity which can cause unhealthy dampness to accumulate in the body resulting in bloating and poor appetite. Cool, Yin type foods are recommended to nourish and moisten the body. Bitter-cool foods are eaten to drain heat and unhealthy fluid retention from the body. Also bland foods are recommended for people affected by dampness/humidity. It can also be helpful to support the Water element (Kidney organ) during this time. Harmonizing Water and Fire will help prevent insomnia, palpitations and heat-stroke during the hot months. These flavors are eaten in accompaniment to your generally balanced diet.
Hong and I used all organic ingredients in our recipes and we recommend using organic ingredients whenever possible. Choosing organic helps to protect the planet and our bodies from harmful chemicals.
In this recipe eggs nourish Yin to moisten the body, tomatoes clear heat and promote the production of fluids, while the garbanzo beans in the hummus help eliminate unhealthy dampness. Dandelion leaves provide our bitter flavor to drain and cool heat. Crab also clears heat while basil is used as a garnish to stimulate the appetite.
For some people it might seem strange to eat dandelion leaves. This is an excellent time to try something new! Dandelion is most commonly sold at Farmers Markets or at your local natural food store. If your yard grows dandelions you can even pick the leaves and eat your own! (make sure your yard has not been sprayed with weed killer or other chemicals before doing this) If you cannot find fresh dandelion leaves in your area you can substitute fresh spinach. Spinach does not have as much bitter flavor as dandelion but it does clear heat and supports healthy blood.
½ - 1 TBSP High temperature cooking oil (we used avocado oil)
1 TBSP hummus
1 beefsteak tomato OR 2 medium size tomatoes
2 cups dandelion leaves OR fresh spinach
2-4oz crab meat
Basil - as desired
Begin by beating 4 eggs with 1 TBSP hummus until smooth, set aside. Cut and remove seeds from 1 large beefsteak tomato. Heat 1 TBSP oil in frying pan over medium heat. When pan is hot add tomato pieces and cook until some moisture has been reduced and the skin is coming off the fruit, 3-5min. Pour egg mixture over tomatoes and reduce the stove to low heat. Pile 1-2 cups chopped dandelion leaves on top of the eggs. Place crab over dandelion and finish with several leaves of fresh basil. Place cover over the frying pan and allow the eggs to cook through, 5-7min. Remove from heat and rest for a few minutes. Make 2-4 servings. Enjoy!
Hong’s Savory Summer Congee/Lu Dou Lian Zi Zhou
Congee is a traditional Chinese rice based porridge. It is often eaten when the appetite is low because it is easy to digest. This is a great option if you tend to lose your appetite during the summertime. In this recipe Hong adds mung beans, lotus seeds, and dried citrus peel.
Mung bean is sweet and cooling, it will cool the heart and the stomach. This will protect the appetite and keep the Heart calm. Lotus seed tonifies the Spleen and also protects the appetite by transforming dampness. It also strengthens the Kidney and quiets the Heart. Rice nourishes the stomach. Dried citrus peel helps to move and descend the stomach Qi to treat nausea and promote appetite.
Dried citrus (called Chen Pi) can definitely be purchased in its prepared form online or at an asian grocery store. However it is easy to make! Hong saves all of her tangerine peels that she eats during the Winter and dries them in a cool dry place. The dried peels can be stored in an airtight container for several months. Try drying your own a week or so before you make this recipe.
You can garnish your congee with all kinds of nuts, seeds, and berries/fruits. We chose black sesame, sunflower seeds, and raspberries. We selected these toppings because they support the Kidney which is the Water organ. Because Summer belongs to the Fire element it is important to support the Water element so that the Fire does not blaze out of control. Harmonizing these two elements allows for a more comfortable season.
Lotus seeds can be difficult to find outside of an Asian grocery store so here is a link to good quality lotus seeds available through Amazon: **Click Here**
3/4 cup mung beans/Lu Dou
3/4 cup white rice
1/2 cup lotus seed/Lian Zi
1 whole dried citrus peel/Chen Pi
Black sesame seeds
Roasted/salted sunflower seeds
Mix together rice, mung beans, and lotus seeds. Rinse with water twice and drain completely. Place washed mixture in a slow cooker along with citrus peel broken into small pieces. Add 10 cups filtered water. Place slow cooker on low heat and cook for 8 hours or overnight. Mix well and add toppings of your choice. Makes 4-6 servings.